May 2013 | Take Justice Back

May 2013

Accountability for Sexual Assault Perpetrators in the Military

Recent news coverage surrounding sexual assaults in the military has exposed a shockingly widespread pattern of brutality against some of our service members. That sort of violence perpetuated against those who chose to dedicate their lives to protect our country is deplorable.  As is a military system that discourages victims from reporting the incidents in the first place, while failing to respond to those reports that are filed. Even worse, active duty military are actually barred from bringing discrimination or personal injury civil court claims after a sexual assault.

Happy Memorial Day

Happy Memorial Day to all our veterans.  Thank you for your service and for protecting our country, rights and freedom.

On this Memorial Day, Take Justice Back is shining a spotlight on the fact that even though our servicemembers have fought for our rights, many of theirs have been limited.  They deserve their justice, because they have fought for ours.  This week we are focusing on four issues that affect the rights of active duty military and veterans: medical negligence in the military, sexual assault in the military, forced arbitration, and asbestos.

Legislation Grants Handout to Asbestos Corporations

Take Justice Back highlights six additional asbestos victim stories

David served as an electrician’s mate in the U.S. Navy for 20 years. During his tenure, he was exposed to asbestos-containing equipment and materials. From this asbestos exposure David developed mesothelioma cancer so severe he was forced to sleep in a chair because he could no longer breathe lying down.  Shortly before his 50th wedding anniversary, David died. 

Instead of protecting people like David, Congress is fast-tracking legislation that would grant a handout to the very same corporations that knowingly exposed millions of Americans to this deadly toxin.  Today the U.S. House Judiciary Committee is marking up H.R. 982: The FACT Act.  This bill threatens to delay justice and deny accountability until asbestos victims die.  It also publicly reveals extensive personal information about asbestos victims, inviting invasions of privacy and potential identity theft.

Tell Congress No Handouts for Corporations that Kill Americans

Congress is fast-tracking legislation that would grant a handout to corporations that knowingly exposed millions of Americans to the deadly toxin – asbestos.  Previously, during a House Judiciary Subcommittee hearing, Chairman Spencer Bachus promised to hear from victims who oppose this bill.  That request has gone unfulfilled. 

NYT Op-ed: Lawsuits Improve Patient Safety

An op-ed by Joanna C. Schwartz, an assistant professor of law at the University of California, Los Angeles, in today’s New York Times confirms what we have always understood: accountably in the courts improves patient safety

Unequal Harm: Disproportionate Damage to Women from Drugs and Devices

Michelle Garcia of Miami never thought a simple doctor’s office procedure for birth control would result in the removal of both of her fallopian tubes.  Yet last year Michelle underwent surgery to remove Essure, a medical device marketed as a “surgery-free permanent” birth control procedure. It was supposed to be Michelle’s easy solution for birth control for life; instead, it was her worst nightmare, requiring surgery to remove the coils and both damaged fallopian tubes.

Women suffer disproportionately from faulty drugs and medical devices, and Michelle is just one example.  As part of National Women’s Health Week, the American Association for Justice (AAJ) has released “Unequal Harm: The Disproportionate Damage to Women from Dangerous Drugs and Medical Devices,” an analysis detailing a history of a few of the many products that have harmed women over the years.

Ranbaxy Settlement Shows Need for Generic Drug Accountability

As if we needed another example of the need to hold generic drug makers accountable to the same standard as brand names, there is this disturbing story from The New York Times. A drug maker named Ranbaxy was churning out generic versions of a number of common drugs, including the epilepsy drug, gabapentin.  But in 2007, it admitted to the Food and Drug Administration that certain batches of the drug had tested positive for “unknown impurities.” 

Bipartisan Bill Addresses Foreign Corporate Liability in U.S.

78% of 2012 CPSC Recalls from Foreign Makers According to Analysis

Legislation Will Revoke Corporations’ License to Steal

Buried in the fine print of everything from credit card, cell phone and nursing home contracts to employee handbooks and online user agreements are dangerous forced arbitration clauses that take away your right to go to court. Instead you are forced into a private arbitration tribunal designed by the very corporation that broke the law. The process is secretive, costly and rigged so that corporations cannot be held accountable. By removing access to justice, it grants corporations a license to steal and violate the law.